WhatsApp: The CBO who helped sell Facebook regrets it and explains what went wrong

WhatsApp: The CBO who helped sell Facebook regrets it and explains what went wrong


WhatsApp Chief Business Officer - Neeraj Arora - spoke via Twitter about Facebook's (now Meta) acquisition of the messaging platform, saying he regretted helping with this commercial operation.

Arora begins explaining that WhatsApp was founded in 2009 by Jam Koum and Brian Acton. After two years, Arora joined as CBO. In 2012/2013, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook proposed an acquisition, but WhatsApp declined. In 2014, the social network company returned to office and proposed what everyone thought was a partnership: full support for end-to-end encryption was promised, confirmation that no advertising would ever be added to the service, independence. on product development decisions, a chair on the board for Jan Koum, an office in Montain View and beyond.

Arora also explains that WhatsApp has pushed hard on the following conditions: no exploitation of user data, none advertising and no cross-platform tracking. Facebook agreed and WhatsApp thought the social network truly believed in that vision.

In 2018, however, the details of the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal were discovered and Brian Acton decided to have his say against Facebook, with a tweet that carried the hashtag #deletefacebook. Today, explains Arora, WhatsApp is Meta's second largest platform, beating even Instagram and FB Messenger. According to her, however, what is left of WhatsApp is a shadow of the original product, created to help people communicate from one part of the world to another at no cost. Arora says he's not the only one who regretted his choice to become part of Facebook.

He goes on to say that tech companies have to admit their mistakes, but points out that no one thought Facebook would become "a monster of Frankenstein who devours user data and produces dirty money. " In conclusion, Arora says that in order to evolve the tech ecosystem, it is necessary to talk about how certain business models can damage products and services that were created with the best of intentions.

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Former WhatsApp exec regrets selling the app to Facebook

With more than 2 billion users, WhatsApp is one of the most popular chat platforms in the world.

But it’s not keen to rest on its laurels. The Facebook-owned product is expanding into new territories, like shopping and payments. The company is also thinking about even showing ads on the app — but not everyone is happy with these developments.

In fact, these have led one ex-WhatsApp executive to believe selling the product to Facebook was a mistake.

Niraj Arora, former Chief Business Officer for WhatsApp, said in a Twitter thread that he regrets handing over the company to Zuckerberg & co. for $22 billion.

Arora noted that during the acquisition, Facebook (now Meta), promised WhatsApp’s team that they’d have complete independence on product decisions, and it won’t push to show ads on the chat app.

The WhatsApp team also tried to secure no cross-platform tracking and user data mining, which Facebook management agreed to at the time.

However, Brian Acton, one of the app’s co-founders, left Facebook in 2017. A year later, he gave an interview to Forbes, where he said that Facebook had plans of showing ads on WhatsApp even before the deal went through.

In 2018, Jan Koum — WhatsApp’s other co-founder — and Arora left the company.

Arora said that WhatsApp, which is Meta’s biggest platform after the blue app, is now “a shadow of the product we poured our hearts into, and wanted to build for the world.”

Meta has a long history of founders of its acquisitions leaving the company because of management practices. In 2018, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger — the founders of Instagram — left the firm because there was reportedly tension between them and Zuckerberg over the direction of the app.

VR Company Oculus’ co-founder Nate Mitchell and former CEO Brendan Iribe also left the social media giant because of management differences.

Brandon Silverman — founder, and CEO of analytics tool CrowdTangle — left Meta last October. Now, he’s trying to help Congress pass laws that force the Big Tech to be more transparent about their work processes.

Meta acquires a gamut of companies every year — so expect to keep seeing stories about disgruntled executives leaving the organization. Well, unless its management practices change, but we don’t see that happening any time soon.